Thankful for Where I Belong
Have you ever gone somewhere, and while there thought, “I don’t belong here.” Or, on the flip side, have you ever been somewhere and thought, “this is exactly where I belong.” I think most of us have probably experienced both at some point in our lives. We usually have a sense of where we “fit” and where we don’t. And if we don’t fit somewhere, we look for a place where we do.
As we approach Thanksgiving, let’s take the time to be thankful for the places we belong. One place I am thankful to belong is the church. I’m thankful to be part of God’s family. And I want the same for our kids. I want them to feel like church is a place where they “fit.” A place where they are important and loved. A place where they are encouraged and welcomed.
Think about the early church. In the letters of Paul, which were read openly to all who gathered, he directly addressed the children because he expected them to be gathered alongside the adults. In Colossians and Ephesians children are directly addressed to “obey their parents” because Scripture is clear that discipleship is to begin at home. But there was never an omission of children from the larger group gathering–the early church recognized the need to include children in worship because it is where they belong. They are an integral part of the church. It is important for their spiritual development to build relationships with faithful adults. It is important they learn, pray, worship, and serve alongside adults. The church is a place our kids should belong—otherwise they will leave and find a place where they do.
When I look around on Sunday morning, there are many things that make me thankful. I see children alongside adults. I see children excited to be with their friends and share what is happening in their lives. I see teenagers smile as they help with a project. I see adults greeting children as they come to worship. I want our kids to know in their heart that they are supposed to be here; that they “fit.” I am thankful for a community that supports and encourages our students, and may they always feel like this is a place where they belong.